Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara State, was lucky enough to become governor first. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 governorship poll, did not become the governor because he won the majority of the votes cast in the election. He was appointed governor after the Supreme Court ruled that the All Progressives Congress (APC), which polled the majority of the votes, did not hold primaries to select its candidates in Zamfara State due to infighting in the party. hour. The court annulled all APC votes and ordered that the candidates of the parties with the next highest number of votes should be declared the winners of the election.
But Mr. Matawalle only managed to last one term. After defecting from the PDP, he contested the 2023 election as the APC candidate but was defeated in the March 18 governorship election by PDP candidate Dauda Lawal.
During the 2019 election campaign, Mr. Matawalle promised to fight unemployment and poverty and revamp the education and health sectors.
Poverty rate, domestic income and debt management
Mr Matawalle spoke passionately about the fight against poverty during his campaign, which he said was fueled by insecurity in the state. When he was sworn in in 2019, Zamfara State had a worse than national average “poverty rate” with 73.98% of the state’s population considered poor, compared to the national average of 40.1%. The state had a higher percentage of poor than Sokoto, Taraba, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Adamawa states, according to a report by Statista.
The Multidimensional Poverty Index released in November 2022 said 78% of Zamfara are poor, which according to Mr. Matawalle worsened poverty from 74% to 78%.
Mr. Matawalle also had a poor record of debt management in 2019, with data showing the state had a combined domestic and external debt of $103.35 billion. The debt increased to N130.1 billion in 2020 and N130.94 billion in 2021. The state currently has the second highest debt in the Northwest region and ranks 15th out of the 36 states of the federation.
However, from 2019 to 2021, the state increased internal revenue generation (IGR), in 2018, generated N8.21 billion, while in 2019, when Mr. Matawalle took over, the state generated N15.42 billion. By 2021, the last year for which data was provided, Mr. Matawalle’s administration increased gross domestic revenue to N18.50 billion, according to NBS data.
Although Mr. Matawalle failed to improve the overall economic condition of the state due to his failure to tackle poverty, the available data shows a slight improvement in the state’s employment figures from 2019 onwards. In 2018, the state had an unemployment rate of 17.98 percent, the last NBS data it shows the rate has dropped to 12.99 percent.
As part of its efforts to create jobs, the state government said it had employed more than 6,000 civil servants between 2019 and 2022, including 556 teachers and other health workers. The state chairman of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Sani Halliru, told PREMIUM TIMES that the current governor had fulfilled his promise to deliver jobs.
After being sworn in in 2019, Mr. Matawalle promised to overhaul the state’s education and health sectors as he had announced. free health care for women and children of the state
“We are aware that poor education, poverty and unemployment are the causes of criminal activities and I want to appeal to the public.
In the coming weeks, we will come up with practical ways to manage it starting with free education and scholarships,” Mr Matawalle said.
However, an investigation by UNESCO revealed that Zamfara State under Mr. Matawalle did not make much effort to push back out-of-school children. the threat The Data from UNESCO The release in 2023 shows that the percentage of out-of-school children in the state increased from 41.1 percent in 2018 to 61.4 percent in 2022. The state was named among the 22 states. alarming rate of out-of-school children in the country In 2020, Zamfara had 422,214 out-of-school children, according to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), but this number has now increased to 883,953 in 2022.
To be fair to Mr. Matawalle, widespread insecurity has caused many parents to pull their children out of school, especially in rural communities.
piloting debts examination bodies in the country, especially the West African Examinations Council, to prevent students from the state from participating in the 2022 examinations, the National Examinations Council (NECO) has withheld the 2020 results of Zamfara State students due to arrears. NECO, in 2020, said Zamfara top of the list of the states that owe the body. Although the general debt of N3.5 billion did not start during his administration, Mr. Matawalle failed to fulfill his commitment to revamp the education sector.
Also, statistics from the West African Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (WASSCE) showed that students in Zamfara have had mixed performances in their public examinations. In 2019, only 22.22% of students who wrote the exams passed. In 2020, the state recorded an increase of 44.05%, but in 2021 it dropped to 9.15%. Public school students could not sit for exams in 2022 due to debt.
Mr. Matawalle named the health sector as one of the priority areas of his administration. But the data indicated that the state had made little progress in the administrative sector. For example, in 2019, the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Program said Zamfara had it 300 medical doctorss. Matawalle administration increase the number 350 in 2022. However, the state is exempt from the World Health Organization (WHO) requirement of one doctor per 1,000 patients.
In 2021, the president of the state Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Mannir Bature, lamented the concentration of health workers in the state capital as well as the general decline of state hospitals.
“The level of corruption is disappointing. Only the Gusau General Hospital has the necessary facilities for a decent health facility. In the rest
13 local government areas, General Hospitals do not even have newborn care facilities… It is 78% of the human resources in the health sector.
Concentrated in Gusau, only 22% remains among the remaining 13 local government areas,” he said.
Mr. Matawalle also had a poor record in addressing infant and maternal mortality in the state. In 2018, a month before he took office, the infant mortality rate was 130 deaths per 1,000 live births. The national average is 62 deaths. The rate rose to 136 deaths per 1,000 births in 2021, according to the NBS Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.
Despite the worsening of most development indices during his tenure, some residents of the state believe that Mr. Matawalle stole billions of naira for the development of the state, a matter currently being investigated by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, although the governor has denied it. wrongdoing
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